Letter: Inmate shares thoughts on homelessness, recovery

To the editor:

Hello. It is a pleasure to be writing to you again. I just finished reading the slew of papers from the last few weeks. I’m so thankful to be able to keep up with what is going on in the home area.

I was taken aback by the article about homeless teens in our community. It saddens me to know that homelessness reaches even the quaint communities such as ours is. What is even worse is the part that these children have to suffer through this.

Speaking as a middle child growing up in the ‘50s and having a father and mother who worked through adversities, we never had everything we wanted, but we did have what we needed. Most of all, we had the love of our parents and of God.

I will add those unfortunate ones to my prayer list and to that of our prayer groups. When prayers go up, blessings will come down!

The comment made that it “takes a village to raise a child” is so correct. Where one should falter and fail, another can fix and repair. My heart does go out to them.

I see this from a different perspective in here (Plainfield Correctional Facility), as I work in the department that deals with the individual re-entry and career development training. I see on a daily basis many men who are homeless and ashamed to speak about it unless we get one-on-one time.

It is also sad to see and know that there are so many men that need so very much help and are limited to assistance. Most of these men are from single-parent or dysfunctional families. Their consequences are the judicial system because they get caught at what they do to survive.

Now, mind you, there are some who just do it for greed, but from years of dealing with re-entry, I find that most were in survival mode. This does not make it right, but it does bring to light the fact that we need to reconsider incarceration versus rehabilitation.

If we are to be successful at reunification, we have to find a positive cure for the issues instead of a Band-aid: Find the problem, understand the problem, discover the four Ws (who, what, when, where) and then set up a re-script of that person’s life.

This, to me, is the only true cure for most social issues like homelessness, anger, alcoholism and substance abuse. If you know what the problem is, you can fix it.

There is much more to this process. I use it daily in my own approach to life and in helping others.

My main reason for writing is I would like to submit two poems for your Poets Corner. I wrote them for Black History Month and received an award for them. So, if you feel so inclined, you may use them as you wish. It is, of course, my personal outlook of things as I see them through my “baby blues.” I would also like to dedicate them to my mother, Dora, my father, James Robert Sr., my sister, Doretta Diane Childs Wilkerson, and my brother, Donald Lee. They have all passed on to be with our Lord and I know one day I’ll see them again there.

I’m also sending you a copy of a picture taken at our Bible Navigator graduation. It is a program that is designed around helping people understand the word of God by telling stories. We completed it and a handful of us are going to be small-group facilitators for the next class. We had to complete another class for that. It is so rewarding and challenging to be able to be a part of these men’s life and the programs.

My pastor, Darrell Miller at Cottonwood, came to our graduation. It was so good to share the experience with him and be represented by the down-home feeling of Brown County.

Well, thank you for listening to me and I will be looking forward to reading more and being home someday.


James Robert Childs Sr., Plainfield

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